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Barbie aims for inclusion as Mattel unveils doll who uses wheelchair and one with a prosthetic limb

Ekaterina79/iStock
Ekaterina79/iStock

(NEW YORK) — Barbie is expanding her crew of pals as Mattel releases a new variety of inclusive dolls as part of their Fashionistas collection.

Monday, the American toy company announced it’s adding dolls with braided hair texture, a new body type and Barbies who reflect permanent physical disabilities.

Barbie’s new body type features a smaller bust, less defined waist and more defined arms, adding to Fashionistas’ already-expanded line of curvy, tall and petite shapes.

We proudly add three new body types to our line. Meet the new dolls. https://t.co/JDeqzI59nX #TheDollEvolves pic.twitter.com/IJVcVhfPkL

— Barbie (@Barbie) January 28, 2016

And for the first time, Barbie is recognizing disabilities by including a doll with a removable prosthetic limb and a doll in a wheelchair. The wheelchair has been one of the most requested accessories from young Barbie fans, according to Mattel.

“For 60 years, Barbie has been a reflection of culture and fashion and that is key to the brand’s continued relevance,” Kim Culmone, Global Head of Design for Barbie, told GMA. “As we design Barbie for the next generation, we are focused on evolving to remain the most diverse doll line in the marketplace.”

 The inspiration behind manufacturing the new dolls was to further showcase a multi-dimensional view of beauty and fashion, said Mattel, which first launched the Fashionistas collection in 2016 by including four different body types, various skin tones, hair and eye colors.

“This year our Barbie line will include dolls reflecting physical disabilities in order to better represent the people and the world kids see around them,” Culmone said. “Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is a critical component of our design process and we are proud that today’s kids will know a different image and experience of the brand.”

 The wheelchair is modeled after one that is designed for an individual who has a permanent physical disability. The doll that is sold with the chair has an articulated body, so she can easily fit in the wheelchair. The accessory also accommodates all body types offered within the Made to Move product line (tall, curvy, and original), according to Mattel.

For the doll with the prosthetic leg, Mattel said it collaborated with Jordan Reeves, a 13-year-old from Missouri and co-founder of “Born Just Right” — a company whose mission is to build creative solutions to help kids with physical disabilities including limb differences and create a play experience that is as representative as possible.

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